Elderly woman staring with text "Is Forgetfulness Normal?"

When you were young and forgetful, it may have been labeled as “spacing out” or being called an “airhead.” However, later in life, forgetfulness could possibly mean something else. Forgetfulness can be a normal part of aging. As people get older, changes occur in all parts of the body, including the brain. For seniors, it’s important to know the difference between what’s normal and what is a sign of something more serious.

According to the National Institute on Aging (NIH), many people worry about becoming forgetful. They think forgetfulness is the first sign of Alzheimer’s disease. NIH goes on to say not all people with memory problems have Alzheimer’s.

Here are a few differences between normal age-induced forgetfulness and Alzheimer’s Disease:

Normal Aging:
• Occasionally making a bad decision
• Losing things from time to time
• Forgetting which day of the week it is
• Forgetting facts over time

Alzheimer’s Disease:
• Making poor decisions a lot of the time
• Misplacing things often and being unable to find them
• Losing track of the date or time of the year
• Repeating the same conversation over and over
• Getting lost in familiar places

The difference between normal age-related forgetfulness and Alzheimer’s Disease can be subtle. Where suspensions exist, err on the side of caution. Contact a health care professional to help determine if memory loss is normal or not.

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